|It was during the decades of the 50s and 60s when our family had their best-ever New Years Parties. They were so good and so memorable that I can still remember many details from those parties. Born in 1952, I was just a kid when we all left home during the afternoon of New Years Eve. We were headed across town to Grandma and Grandpa’s place. My mom had 2 sisters and of course, they arrived with their fiancees as well. The whole event began with having lots of coffee, cakes and chocolate for all of us. And I suspect the adults had a few drinks as well. After coffee we were heading upstairs where a very peculiar thing was happening in the bathroom.
Left: My Dad
One person at a time disappeared in the bathroom to be face-painted. It was around 6pm, when we were all seated around in the living room again.
Now it could happen that someone rang the door bell. We would all run to the entry and there they were: The Rumblepots. We had expected them as it was customary that kids and young adults went from door to door performing a song. I remember the first time I saw them. They were all face-painted and dressed in odd-looking rag-tag costumes.
When they were finished singing, they received a reward. It could be some Christmas candy or also home-baked cookies. Someone gave me a few cookies and I was asked to hand them to the “Rumblepots”. I was still very young and I was scared of these types at the door, so instead of reaching them the cookies I just threw the cookies at them, which of course landed on the ground.
After the Rumblepots, it was time to eat. Grandma always had a great meal. We all ate and drank like there was no tomorrow.
One year Grandma had made special costumes for me and my brother. I was “Till Eulenspiegel”, a figure from German fairy tales, while my brother was Mickey Mouse.
Until I was 12 years old, it was bedtime after 8pm. We slept in my grandparent’s bedroom. We could hear the adults below singing and telling stories. My parents went home after midnight, while my brother and I was staying overnight at Grandma and Grandpa.
The following morning was always very exciting.
During the night the adults had decorated the entire place with paper streamers, which we were now eager to “salvage” by rolling them up again.
Also, during the night, indoor rockets had been fired off, leaving little things like tiny figures or cars of plastic all over the place. Also “Knallbonbons” were very common. They also had something inside which we could find and salvage. All too soon my parents came along to pick us up for the ride home.
Left: Me and Molly
Grandma and Grandpa also had a little dog. Her name was Molly and we kids had a great deal of fun playing with her.
Those parties stopped around 1964-65. My grandparents had gotten a Black/white TV-set and somehow we now just hung around the TV. Instead of having fun with each other we were now staring into the TV. Especially Grandpa was very interested in watching the New Year’s Eve program. Shortly before 12 midnight a big clock appeared on the screen and a voice would start to count the seconds until the big GONG and the new year had arrived. The next program was usually dance and music.
And this is what is left from those days – just memories and a few old photos. But the memories are good and they will stay with me to the end of my days, I’m sure.